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R'bel and bronze Gyldanth

The Road So Far!

It all began at Jessaf Hold, in the protectorate of Madellon Weyr, for Rebel – a young man of 17 Turns, dreaming of becoming a bronze rider.

Rebel was born to unusual privilege – a grandson of Winstone, Lord of mighty Jessaf Hold. Rebel didn't scramble for the attention of the young Search rider, Garlan, who came to Jessaf in early 102 seeking candidates for Madellon Weyr's latest clutch. But as a scion of the Hold, Rebel was among the party welcoming the green rider to Jessaf – and, in due course, became the focus of her dragon Hushith's attention. Lord Winstone wasn't enthusiastic about Rebel becoming a candidate – displeased that such a opportunity would ruin his plans for Rebel's betrothal to a niece of Lord Orfen's. But he grudgingly accepted that, as Rebel had his majority, he had the right to accept Search. And with Winstone's admonition that he Impress a bronze – or a brown at the very least – ringing in his ears, Rebel left to begin his candidacy at Madellon Weyr.

As a candidate, Rebel was assigned a bunkmate – Soburn, an anxious Weyrbred youth with one failed Hatching already haunting him, who would soon become his closest friend in the Weyr. He also got to know many of his fellow candidates, including the Weyrbred twins Leover and Leoguy; Zielaph, the nephew of a Madellon bronze rider; and Chiliam, a good-natured highborn lad from Kellad.

But he also made an enemy – Rielat, a self-important apprentice Weaver – who took a firm disliking to Rebel! Backed up by his crony Kestor, Rielat became the thorn in Rebel's side throughout the sevendays of candidacy.

Hatching Day

The dragons' hum woke Soburn and Rebel on 102.03.17. Following a brief run-in with Rielat, the pair joined the rest of the candidates for a morning lecture. The Weyrlingmaster, L'stev, gave the whole cohort – increased by three late Searchees to a total of thirty-five – strict instructions about pre-Hatching preparations, including eating, drinking, bathing – and in some cases, getting a decent haircut – and then turned the group loose for the morning. Before Rebel left, Soburn asked him to find out if H'nar, the young Wingleader of the Betweenless Wing, might currently be seeing someone – or not.

The one-armed green rider

Immediately on leaving the candidate barracks, Rebel was flagged down by M'shen – a green rider with only one arm. But whatever he wanted, Rebel never discovered, after making a mean-spirited joke about M'shen's missing hand that – not unreasonably – made the green rider take against him.

Respecting his elders

In the Weyr's kitchen gardens, Rebel encountered R'hren, a former Weyrleader of Madellon, now peacefully retired to potter among his beloved plants. R'hren asked Rebel to help him track down the ingredients for a warming salve to help his elderly bronze, Staamath, with his arthritic forepaws. Rebel duly located the components of R'hren's salve, winning the old bronze rider's approval in the process.

Gifted a small pot of the salve, Rebel offered it to old S'rius, who was equally appreciative of the gift. And while Kisha, the blind old green rider Rebel encountered in the infirmary, would have nothing to do with one of R'hren's concoctions, she too grew to approve of Rebel – especially after he solved all three of her fiendish riddles!

A Masterful order

In the dining hall, Rebel met his fellow candidate Zielaph, who'd been tasked by his somewhat dim uncle, bronze rider Fr'ton, with delivering a complicated drinks order to a group of Master Crafters. Zielaph had information about their names, beverages, crafts, and fire-lizards – but not in any sensible order!

Luckily for him, Rebel solved the puzzle of Fr'ton's confusing notes adeptly, delivering the correct drinks to the correct Masters, and earning a handsome tip in the process.

A rising problem

Rebel encountered both Soleigh, whose green Bristath was preparing to rise near the lake, and her weyrmate Maris, who was getting very drunk in the dining hall on account of her fears that Soleigh was having an affair with a blue rider, G'tron. Rebel's intervention successfully got rid of G'tron, whose Imdoth was very sweet indeed on Bristath, from the mating flight and reconciled the two green riders.

Hot stuff

Madellon's kitchen was the source of the hotfruit R'hren had sent Rebel to find for his warming salve. Headwoman Crauva handed one over immediately he asked for it, pleased to be helping such an august figure as the old Weyrleader.

Overkeen to get his hands on the last bubbly pie in the dining hall, Rebel took it – forcibly – from a small child. Not the nicest thing to do – but mmm, pie...

Weyrbrat by name...

A run-in with a Weyrbrat – Terzon, whom Rielat had paid to cause Rebel trouble – resulted in an unfortunate public incident. All too aware of being shaken down, Rebel gave the kid a shove – in front of a number of witnesses – doing nothing for his reputation!

A shining example

Coming upon Santinoth – Madellon's biggest bronze – being bathed in the lake, Rebel was quick to offer assistance to his rider, T'rello. It couldn't hurt to have some close-up experience with a bronze, could it?

Friend request

Conscious of Soburn's bashfulness, Rebel approached the object of his affections – H'nar, Wingleader of the Betweenless Wing – with some circumspection. Still, when questioned, H'nar insisted he had to know who was making enquiries of him. And when he learned the identity of his admirer, he told Rebel that he wasn't interested in Soburn – or any other men, for that matter. But Rebel's agile pivot in questioning revealed that a close friend of H'nar's – blue rider M'rany – might be a viable alternative. Thus encouraged, Soburn began to think more positively of life as a dragonrider – even if H'nar would end up being his Wingleader!

Wherry bad behaviour

Rebel's assorted instances of bad behaviour finally caught up with him. L'stev collared him in the Bowl and gave him an ultimatum – buck up his ideas, or sit the Hatching out. Rebel chose the former, and the Weyrlingmaster sent him to do penance in the wherry hatchery – though Rebel remained on probation, with one more slip promising to rule him out of standing!

A slithery customer

Early in the day, Rebel found out about a secret way into the Hatching Ground via storeroom that might allow him a sneaky peek at the eggs before the Hatching. Successfully entering the combination to the lock on the storeroom door, and suitably equipped with a glowbasket, he crawled into a confusing maze of passages.

By a stroke of ill luck, Rebel strayed into tunnel snake territory! A huge, aggressive, and potently venomous female tunnel-snake guarded the exit to the Hatching ground. Rebel was lucky to avoid being bitten. But ultimately he evaded the snake, dodging past it and slipping out onto the Hatching Sands.

Having survived his encounter with the snake, Rebel crept closer to the clutch – close enough to touch an egg – before beating a hasty retreat from the Hatching Ground!

The Hatching

When it came to the Hatching, Rebel didn't have to wait too long for his date with destiny. The purple-speckled cream egg Hatched out a bright golden-bronze dragonet who told Rebel his name was Gyldanth.

A friend in me

And Rebel wasn't the only lucky one. To his delight, Soburn also Impressed, becoming the rider of a slender olive-green hatchling, Aeranth.

Whatever happened to Rielat?

It turned out that making an enemy of Rebel was a very poor choice on Rielat's part. For the low, low price of just three marks, Rebel had Grimes, the shady fellow loitering near the Gather stalls, spread a series of nasty rumours about Rielat. By the time the Weyrlingmaster mustered the candidate cohort immediately before the Hatching, the damage to Rielat's reputation was done – and he was ejected from the candidate pool without ever setting foot on the Sands!

After the Hatching

"Gyldanth" by Emily Holland

The Weyrlingmaster was the first to congratulate Rebel on his Impression, but it was Garlan, delighted that her risky choice of Winstone's grandson had Impressed, who stepped in to help with the immediate matter of Gyldanth's first meal. That was Rebel's first opportunity to speak to Soburn, too, and they introduced each other, with considerable delight, to their respective dragonets, Gyldanth and Aeranth. Soburn also told Rebel that his new name was to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – S'burn.

It wasn't long before Gyldanth's personality started to become evident. The bright-bronze dragonet, while the smallest of his colour, demonstrated an exceptional degree of self-possession and independent thought – not shy to push himself forward, or make his opinion heard.

With both dragonets full to bursting with fresh meat, the newly minted dragonpairs left the Hatching sands for their new home: the weyrling barracks.

Big brother

Another friend Rebel made along the way – a young Holdbred candidate, Nichen, whom Rebel had encountered in a hopelessly dishevelled state directly before the Hatching – hailed Rebel at the barracks – crediting him with his successful Impression of a moon-blue dragonet, Yooth!

Meeting the Weyrleader

As Rebel and S'burn wiped the worst of the blood and sand from their tired new dragonets, the Weyrleader, T'gat, came to inspect both boys' dragonets, to ask after their names – and to ask the two new weyrlings how they should now be called. Rebel was proud to introduce Gyldanth to the Weyrleader. And after a brief conference with Gyldanth, Rebel gave the Weyrleader his own new name: R'bel, rider of bronze Gyldanth!

Following their audience with the Weyrleader, and the application of oily rags to relieve Gyldanth's and Aeranth's newborn itchiness, R'bel and S'burn headed into the boys' barracks to claim the billets that would be theirs for the next Turn. Choosing adjacent cots, the two new weyrlings got their dragonets settled on the couches that they would take months to grow into. But there was no time for them to sit and admire their new dragons. The Weyrlingmaster soon came along to give them their new weyrling shoulder-knots, before chivvying them off to the Hatching feast!

The Hatching feast

R'bel and S'burn soon went their separate ways to find family and friends. Many of the riders and Weyrfolk R'bel had helped during the day greeted him with warm congratulations as he hunted through the throng – but, at last, he found his family.

Lord Winstone, R'bel's grandfather, was very pleased indeed to be able to boast to all and sundry that his grandson had Impressed a bronze, although he still managed to find fault with Gyldanth for failing to be the largest dragonet in the clutch – a criticism that the Weyrleaders were quick to cut short in their toast to R'bel and his bronze.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur for R'bel, and it came as a relief when the Weyrlingmaster ordered all the new weyrlings back to the barracks for a good night's sleep. But en route to bed, R'bel was flagged down by a Weyrbrat, Emry, bringing the message that Weyrwoman Second Tarshe wanted to see him in the Archives.

Setting the record straight

Tarshe, tasked by the Weyrwoman with converting candidate documentation into weyrling records, went through R'bel's background with him – including much of what he had got up to on the morning of the Hatching – for good and ill. She offered R'bel some advice about paying attention to his new classmates and surroundings, lest he fall foul of the Weyrlingmaster's penchant for snap quizzes, and made some observations on Gyldanth.

A close encounter

On his way back to the barracks , R'bel had two peculiar encounters – first, with Tarshe's queen, Berzunth, who seemed quite agitated by one of the visiting dragons on the Rim; and then with a mysterious hooded figure, smelling strongly of what R'bel would later realise was firestone, who called him by name – and gave him a curious wooden box.

"The Watchful Queen" by Chris S. Baily

Back at the barracks, R'bel decided, on balance, not to tell the Weyrlingmaster about the stranger.

Returning at last to Gyldanth – billeted between S'burn's Aeranth and a mucky-looking brown dragonet – R'bel was too tired to examine the strange wooden box very closely, and put it in his clothes' chest for later examination. But even as he went to sleep – a dragonrider at last, his bronze beside him – R'bel was struck with a deep sense of foreboding. Who was the mysterious dragonrider in the hooded cloak? And what was the significance of the strange wooden box?

R'bel and Gyldanth's story will continue in Dragonchoice: Weyrling, coming soon!

R'bel's achievements

Achievement Unlocked:
CARRY ON WAYWARD SON

I travelled The Road So Far!

Achievement Unlocked:
OUR ROB, OR ROSS

I received a mysterious box!

Achievement Unlocked:
A HORSE WITH A NAME

I have a name and it's a good name and I don't need to fix my name. Probably.

Achievement Unlocked:
THE YIN TO YOUR YANG

Gyldanth and I complement each other!

Achievement Unlocked:
SNAKES AND SNAILS

I haven't been very nice!

Achievement Unlocked:
EBONY AND IVORY

Gyldanth and I agreed on something very important!

Achievement Unlocked:
BUM NOTE

Gyldanth and I disagreed on something quite important!